When people found out Lady Gaga would be performing the Pepsi halftime show at Super Bowl LI, there was some trepidation.
After all, this was the woman who protested outside Trump Tower, tears streaming down her face, after the presidential election.
Maybe she'd take this opportunity to make a grand political statement.
Instead, this happened...
Gaga opened up with a heartfelt rendition of “God Bless America”:
Red and blue stars lit up above her:
Then she descended from the heavens like a magic silver alien:
It was a pretty cool intro.
Last year, if you remember, Beyoncé opened with “Formation.”
Her dancers were dressed like Black Panthers:
Gaga's dancers looked kinda different:
It was a diverse group—race, gender, you name it:
Bey's dancers kept it more uniform:
Overall, the intentions of the two performances were just plain different, and so were the times.
Beyoncé was overtly supporting the Black Lives Matter movement:
Gaga said she and her crew were just “here to make you feel good.”
And overall, it seems like she was successful.
Like, people are really pleased:
She brought together both sides of the aisle:
Bey's performance, of course, came at a time when stories of police brutality against people of color were exploding across the media.
The Black Lives Matter movement was gaining traction, but it still seemed alien to a lot of Americans, and Beyoncé's performance put the issue front and center.
But the national conversation has shifted since then, and things are tenser than ever.
So Gaga kept it light (albeit with some subtle political moments), and gave America something to smile about.
She capped it off with a mic drop:
And there you have it.
[Editor's note: This post has been updated after publication.]